Monday, February 28, 2011
I really couldn't have cared less about the Chicago mayoral race in general (bigger local issues to worry about, let's say), but what did make the race fascinating to me was the Twitter feed @mayoremanuel. Wildly profane and brilliantly satirical, it got to the point that the real Rahm Emanuel offered $5,000 to the anonymous blogger to go away. Well, now that Emanuel won the race handily, the man behind the account has been revealed on the Atlantic Monthly's site:
If that seems like a lot of fuss over a Twitter account, you probably haven't been following @MayorEmanuel. The profane, brilliant stream of tweets not only may be the most entertaining feed ever created, but it pushed the boundaries of the medium, making Twitter feel less like a humble platform for updating your status and more like a place where literature could happen. Never deviating too far from the reality of the race itself, @MayorEmanuel wove deep, hilarious stories. It was next-level digital political satire and caricature, but over the months the account ran, it became much more. By the end, the stream resembled an epic, allusive ode to the city of Chicago itself, yearning and lyrical.
For weeks, journalists and insiders have urged the person behind @MayorEmanuel to reveal himself, but he (or she) demurred. Until now. After a protracted email negotiation, the author has outed himself to The Atlantic. He's receiving no compensation.
The genius behind @MayorEmanuel is Dan Sinker, who has a heart made out of Chicago and balls of punk rock.
I was actually thrilled that it was Sinker, since I was a fan of his late magazine Punk Planet. The story of how the Twitter feed became a phenomenon is fascinating (although admittedly the sort of thing a guy employed to do social media cares about).